Community rallies around Wellington church that fell victim to unholy crime

Community rallies around Wellington church that fell victim to unholy crime
A Wellington church says a thief struck in the night and pulled off an unholy crime ahead of Halloween. (Source: PBSO, St. Peter's United Methodist Church)

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A Wellington church says a thief struck in the night and pulled off an unholy crime ahead of Halloween.

But when the community got word of what happened, it stepped up to turn this nasty trick into a heartwarming treat.

St. Peter's United Methodist Church, located at 12200 Forest Hill Blvd., is known for having one of the best pumpkin patches in the area during Halloween.

“We get thousands of pumpkins on our property and we sell them to the community,” said Pastor Cory Britt in a video on the church’s Facebook page.

Wow! Wellington you are the best! This is a brief Thank You for coming to our aid when our pumpkin pallets were stolen this week.

Posted by St. Peter's United Methodist Church on Thursday, October 3, 2019

The money raised by the sale of those pumpkins funds the church's youth ministry and mission trips.

Pastor Britt said the church lined up more than 100 pallets over the weekend, which the pumpkins would've been displayed on.

But that's when things took a ghastly turn.

"On Monday, when I drove in, the pallets were gone," said Pastor Britt. "Someone had come in the middle of the night and stolen [the] pallets."

Surveillance video exclusively obtained by FOX 29′s Sabirah Rayford shows a pickup truck and trailer pulling up to the front of the church. Minutes later, the truck drives away with stacks of pallets loaded onto the trailer.

🔽 WATCH SURVEILLANCE VIDEO 🔽

The pastor said the church had borrowed the pallets, and it would've been very expensive to buy new ones.

"Needless to say, we were frustrated and wondering, what are we gonna do?" said Pastor Britt.

That's when the community jumped in to show its true spirit of the season.

Pastor Britt said a local parishioner and mother posted about the theft on Facebook, urging people to help. And help they did!

"That spread, the word got out," said Pastor Britt. "Within 24 hours of that post, people started showing up and giving us pallets."

In the end, the community donated 140 pallets to the church, just in time for Halloween.

"The generosity of this community was overwhelming," said Pastor Britt. "Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for coming to our aid when we needed help."

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrested the suspected crook, 48-year-old Heriberto Garcia, on larceny/grand theft charges.

To learn more about the church and its pumpkin patch, click here.

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